Please meet Dr. Wilhelm B. Shockley of the Nikola Tesla group at the Doniker institute of advanced electrical phenomenon studies, who will assist us in conducting the following scientific experiment and is here to oversee safety protocols and clinical procedures…

 


 

 

The standing insulator is rated to ten thousand volts...

 


 

 

“Now Ladies and Gentlemen, at this time it is necessary for me to ask that you all please cooperate by turning off your cell phones and electronic equipment while we energize the electric chair, this is for your own protection, as the extremely high voltages employed in this demonstration can cause permanent and severe damage to electronic equipment, anyone who has a pacemaker or other medical equipment implanted should at this time step out into the lobby”…

 


 

 

The scientist throws a switch and her body is electrified, she writhes and squirms ( is it agony or is it ecstasy? ) in the chair as her body is energized with a high voltage charge…

The scientist again throws the switch disconnecting the current and Electra Voltara collapses theatrically in apparent exhaustion and then recovers and announces that she is ready to continue…

She then lights fluorescent bulbs from all parts of her body, sparks fly from her fingertips…

 


 

 

With this selector switch, the electric girl can be AC or DC...

 


 

 

These brass insoles were designed by Dr. Scholl...

 


 

 

Good connections are very important in show business...

 


 

 

 

A gift from Bob Atterbury of the Hamid-Morton Circus in Trenton NJ 1965...

 


 

 

”One hundred and sixty six pounds of brass and copper on a maple chair...

 


 

 

“ Does anyone in the audience have a metal object we can borrow for this next demonstration? Yes sir, your car keys will do, please bring them up here, thank you, now please throw, do not place but throw them into the metal pan that Madam Voltara has in her hand, you will see a flash of light, your keys will not be harmed, they will be returned to you”...

 


 

 

"Would anyone else in the audience care to participate in this demonstration?"...

"Anyone with a handful of coins to add, the more metal objects, the better"...

"That's right folks, you will have the opportunity to reclaim your coins, as a matter of fact, you will be allowed to grab as many coins as you want"...

"Just keep tossing them in, we'll wait, bring them up here, anyone else?"...

 


 

 

The chair came to me many years ago from a haunted house in Miami…

Even before the chair, the Tesla coil had been part of a show at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City and was a gift from legendary Showman Bob Atterbury…

Other components had been accumulated from a variety of sources…

Brass “baby shoes” from the Royal American back when apple sticks were UL rated…

Ceramic insulators from the rooftop trees of “pot trucks” on the Collins Show…

Perforated angle left over from the sound system installed for the “Epcot Daredevil Circus” at Walt Disney World (lawfully acquired from Walt Disney Productions property control department)…

Giant mogul base lamp globes and vintage hardware (square nuts) from old rotted wooden banner line sections from the Sam Alexander Sideshow when it was retired by Rudy Jacobi…

Brass findings from the old Astroland Park in Coney Island…

Some copper salvaged from old out of code show wire…

A quarter pound of imagination…

A month or so of tinkering…

 


 

 

All that's left is to study up and polish the routine...

 


 

 

“A young girl is walking in the countryside and is caught in a sudden storm. She takes shelter under a tree and is struck by a bolt of lightning. Remarkably, she is unharmed and walks away, she is however forever changed. Everyone she comes into contact with is electrically shocked. Over time she discovers that she has the ability to contain and control electrical energy in her body. She develops an addiction to electrical energy. She drains the electricity from car batteries, she absorbs power from telephone lines, she uses hairpins to collect power from electrical outlets. She is able to release the energy at will…”

 


 

     

 

The "Crown" is solid brass with copper electrical fittings...

 

“We have arranged to have this strange young lady appear here tonight to demonstrate for you her strange ability”…

 


 

 

We will strap her into an actual electric chair and shoot voltage through her system. Sparks of electricity jump from her fingertips as she lights up light bulbs in her bare hands. It is positively shocking...

 


 

Some of the original components of this prop date back a half century...


There are parts which came from Sam Alexander's Sideshow, and other parts from Bob Atterbury and the Steel Pier in Atlantic City...


The chair is to be featured at a major International performance arts festival in Montreal in March...

 

Professor Laszlo
 


Photographs courtesy of Lee Kolozsy copyright © 2011 all rights reserved

 


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